Psycho-Dermatology

Psychology refers to the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of the individual.

Dermatology refers to the scientific study of the skin and its diseases.

Psycho-Dermatology refers to understanding the psychosocial-context of skin diseases. It is relatively a new discipline and is closely related to psychiatry. It is a somatic medicine. It defines the interplay of skin and neuroendocrine and immune systems.

Psycho dermatological disorders include the following disorders:

  • Psychophysiological Disorders where emotional stress can increase symptoms (psoriasis)
  • Primary Psychological Disorders where the psychological condition results directly affecting the skin (Delusions of Parasitosis)
  • Secondary Psychological Disorders where skin condition can lead to psychological problems (depression)

Delusion of Parasitosis: The condition known as “monosymptomatic hypochondriacal psychosis” is a collection of diseases that includes delusions of parasitosis. Patients with the latter illness often exhibit isolated skin-related delusions. ┬áThese diseases vary significantly from schizophrenia, which includes many functional impairments, such as auditory hallucinations, a lack of social skills, and flat affect in addition to delusional thought, since the nature of the delusional condition is really isolated.┬áDelusions of parasitosis are the most typical type of monosymptomatic hypochondriacal psychosis seen in people with skin issues. Patients with parasitosis delusions are convinced that some sort of parasite is inhabiting their body. They frequently have complex theories about how these “organisms” multiply, migrate inside the skin, and occasionally leave it.

Goals of Psych dermatology:

  1. Patients skin condition/s affecting their emotions
  2. Working with these emotional aspects
  3. Reducing the emotional stress producing threats
  4. Helping the patient develop coping mechanisms and also reducing the further development of disorder.

Causes of psych dermatological disorders are:

  • Infections such as throat or skin infections
  • Weather
  • Injury to the skin
  • smoking or passive smoking┬áHeavy alcohol consumption
  • Medications such as High BP drugs and anti-malarial drugs
  • Misuse of Drugs
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Menopausal State

Risk Factors include the following:

  • Family History and Genetics: Having a parent with psycho-dermatological increase the risk of the individual developing the disease.
  • Smoking: Smoking tobacco cannot increase the incidence but also increase the severity of the disease.
  • Gender: Commonly among middle-aged women.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Abnormal levels of dopamine can contribute to psycho-dermatology in an individual.

Treatment of Psycho-dermatological disorders:

  • Benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are examples of anti-anxiety medications (SSRIs)
  • Beta-blockers like propranolol, antiepileptic medications like pregabalin, antihistamines like hydroxyzine, and pimozide, an antipsychotic medicine used to treat parasite delusions
  • When depression aggravates a dermatological problem, antidepressants are used.
  • Techniques for reducing stress, such as meditation, music therapy, regular exercise, and relaxation
  • Counselling or medical care for mental health (such as cognitive behavioural therapies)
  • Hypnosis, which may involve blood flow training and electromyography
  • Herbal supplements and aromatherapy are examples of complementary treatments.

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